Anyone interested in teaching and education should be aware of an increasingly popular concept known as standards based grading (SBG). The overarching purpose of this approach is to help students understand their mastery of material and to provide educators with a way of more successfully tracking student progress. Traditional grading scales can seem vague to students. This method allows a more advanced understanding of mastery and helps to motivate students in a way that traditional grading does not. Read on to discover more about SBG and the benefits it offers.
About Standards Based Grading
The primary focus of SBG is on student understanding and mastery of core concepts within the material, rather than on receiving a letter grade. This system grades students on various concepts and learning targets, which lets them see in which areas they excel and on which they may lack understanding. Students are given an explanation of which concepts they must know in advance so that they can better prepare to meet these goals. This baseline is the same for all students at a particular level. The teachers’ lesson planning is guided by these standards in order to ensure that expectations can be fairly meet. Rather than receiving letter grades, report cards contain a breakdown of the learning standards with a grade that is on a scale of one to four for each of the standards. This provides a more accurate understanding of performance in each area.
Benefits of SBG
Standards based grading offers numerous benefits to both students and teachers. First and foremost, it provides meaning to each grade so that students understand why they received the score they did. Both students and teachers maintain accountability under this system because the expected standards and goals are known from the beginning of a class. Learning standards provide students better feedback for improvement over being given a generalized letter grade. In addition, teachers benefit from these learning standards because these allow them to see where a significant number of students may be struggling. Teachers can also tailor learning on a student by student basis when they have this information available to them. With SBG, students will be more motivated to learn because they have a clear picture of where they need to improve. Finally, standards based grading lets teachers tailor their lessons to where the class is in relation to the material.
SBG Grading Scale
In order to better understand this system, let’s take a look at the overall grading scale and what each numbered level may mean. The system is ranked in a one through four model. One on this scale indicates that a student lacks clear mastery of a particular learning objective. With some mastery of a concept, they may earn a two. A three on this scale means that the learning standard’s primary target has been satisfactory reached. A four means a student has exceeded the target learning standard.
This is an overview of this particular grading model. As you can see, standards based grading offers a number of benefits for both students and teachers, which is likely why this system is being embraced at schools all around the nation.